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Skin Lightening For Beauty

Updated on February 15, 2015

Have you been searching and reading about skin lightening products or a product that will give you a nice even skin tone. Then you probably have already gained some knowledge reading up on the material you have already come across. Just in case you are not yet up to speed on skin lightening products or skin bleachers as some are called I will go over some points here.

Skin lightening or skin bleaching is the procedure of using a lotion or cream that contains chemical substances to lighten the skin tone and give an even skin complexion. There are several chemical products that have been shown to be useful in lightening the skin. Some products have shown to be toxic or questionable in their safety which has given some controversy in their use. The chemical products used in these creams are used to reduce the amount of melanin in the skin. Below you can find a break down on some of the active ingredients used in some products. And a little bit of background info.

Benefits Alpha Hydroxy Acids

The most researched forms of Alpha Hydroxy Acids are lactic acid and glycolic acid and is the active ingredient found in the Perfect Image product found above which also contains Kojic Acid. Alpha Hydroxy Acids have a molecular size that allows them to penetrate into the top layer of the skin most effectively. It is believed that AHAs in concentrations of 4 to 15 percent are not best for inhibiting melanin production and not lighten the skin. But they would be beneficial in helping the cell rate turnover removing the unhealthy layer of skin where hyper pigmented cells can be. AHAs acid peels with concentrations of 50 percent or more may remove discolorations but should be performed by a qualified physician.

The Use Of Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is an ingredient in some skin lightening products that is used to inhibit melanin production. Hydroquinone is sometimes combined with tretinoin and has been shown to prevent hormone or sun induced melisma.

As an inhibiter of melanin production, Hydroquinone will prevent dark skin from using melanin to produce skin color. It does not bleach the skin; it will lighten it because it lowers the production of melanin.

There are some concerns about hydroquinone’s safety. Some of the concerns are from using too high of a concentrations. Most risk seems to apply to African women.

Hydroquinone has been banned in the European Union since 2001 but can be prescribed by a physician. It can be sold in the U.S. over the counter with a concentration of 2 percent or less.

Hydroquinone can be an irritant to the skin because of it action. The higher the concentration the more irritating it will be, such as greater than 4 percent. Some creams are a combination of hydroquinone, tretinoin and cortisone. The cortisone is added to act as an anti-inflammatory.

Kojic acid As Used In These Products

The fermenting of malting rice for Saki gives the by-product of Kojic acid. Kojic acid has shown that it can be effective in inhibiting melanin production. But Kojic acid can be an unstable ingredient when in cosmetic products. When exposed to sunlight or air it could turn brown and lose its effectiveness. As an alternative many cosmetic companies use Kojic dipalmitate as an alternative because it is more stable. Although Kojic diplalmitate is a good antioxidant, research has shown it is not as good as Kojic acid. There is also some discussion as to whether Kojic acid is cancer causing in large doses.

A Little Background

Skin lightening can be traced back to the Elizabethan times when the practice of using white powder caked on the face. Being they were unable to bath frequently it was used to help mask unclean skin. It also showed them to be of high standing and wealthy.

In our modern times the practice of skin lightening is most used in Asian countries. Next would be African Countries that use skin lightening products the most. It is thought that since many of the Asian and African areas were once part of a white colonization that having a lighter skin equals a higher standing in society as a carry over from the old times.

Even in countries with fair skinned people, the popularity of using skin lightening products has become popular. It can give the user a more even and balanced skin tone and eliminate age spots. The appeal of natural skin color as opposed to tanning is becoming more popular, hence the interest in improving ones skin tone.


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